Professional roles in the criminal justice community as they relate to death and dying



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Purpose: Professionals who work within the criminal justice community cope with death and dying and its attendant problems as a normal part of their working experience. Even though the criminal justice professional must work with the problems connected with death situations of all types and the problem situations caused by the death event, little education or information is available to aid him in the performance of his working commitment. At this time the professional has few resources to turn to, and few places are provided to give him the opportunity to examine his own feelings and attitudes surrounding death as it relates to his working environment, and also in relation to himself and his personal and intimate world. The purpose of this study was to take the first steps toward providing a compact body of knowledge about death and dying related specifically to professionals in the criminal justice community; i.e, law enforcement, corrections, and social service and rehabilitation. The study also underscored the importance of and the need for criminal justice workers to obtain knowledge concerning death and dying in its ramifications for them both professionally and personally. Methods: The method chosen for this study was documentary research. Documentary research gives one a useful tool for analyzing a wide variety of phenomena in an attempt to increase our understanding of human relationships or human behavior. It provides a vehicle for introduction of many factors which, presented in overview fashion, give one a more distinct picture of the interplay of influences which are woven together to present the tapestry of the final product. Findings: The findings of the study emphasize the need for the professional in the criminal justice community to recognize and come to grips with the influence of the taboo concerning death and dying in the American culture. The American culture gives few guidelines to aid the person who is facing his own death and there are few educational opportunities for the professional in the criminal justice system who will be faced with death situations and the responsibility for working with others faced with death and dying. The professional who has had some education in the area of death and dying will be in a better position to provide for the needs of those facing their own death, as well as to help the bereaved accomplish their grief work and solve the myriad of other problems arising from death and dying. The public has always looked to, and has had the right to expect the professional to help them cope with the problems which lie within their professional field. The criminal justice worker who has had some background education and knowledge in the area of death and dying will be in a better position to handle one of life's most dramatic situations--death.



Death--Psychological aspects., Law enforcement--Psychological aspects., Social service--Psychological aspects.